Episode 286 – Taiwan, Magna Carta and Limits on Freedom

In this episode, we give an update on Satanic religious instruction in Qld State Schools and then discuss Taiwan, the scrapping of the fairness doctrine, the Magna Carta, and the role of the harm principle in limiting free speech.

NTOS Update

Now 4 schools and 1 in NSW

I’ve renewed my practising certificate

Complaint lodged with HRC re Grace Grace

French report finds no campus free speech crisis, leaves conservatives dissatisfied

From Crikey

Chief Justice Robert French’s review into Australian universities found no evidence of a free speech crisis on campuses. That didn’t stop conservatives from reporting that it had.

Over the weekend, former High Court Chief Justice Robert French AC quietly released his long-awaited report into freedom of speech on campus.

The report, which came after a four month review, concluded that there is no systemic freedom of speech crisis on Australian university campuses. But the reporting on French’s conclusions has been wildly divergent — while the Nine papers reported that there was “no freedom of speech crisis”, The Australian focused on the fact that French endorsed a national code to protect freedom of speech.

Despite French’s comprehensive probe, the review has not helped cool the culture war around universities which led to its inception.

China – NZ says show some respect

From ABC

New Zealand Trade Minister advises Australia to show China more ‘respect’

The Federal Government is fuming after New Zealand’s Trade Minister suggested Australia could mend ties with China by showing its government more “respect.”

Mr O’Connor said New Zealand had a “mature” relationship with China and could raise issues of concern, but added it also respected its trade ties with Beijing.

“If [Australia] were to follow us and show respect, I guess a little more diplomacy from time to time and be cautious with wording, they too could hopefully be in a similar situation [with China],” he said.

Chas Freeman on China

From The Grayzone

Guest: Chas Freeman. Veteran U.S. diplomat and public servant who has served in many senior positions, including as Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Director for Chinese Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, and as the principal US interpreter during President Nixon’s historic visit to China in 1972.

CHAS FREEMAN: Well I think we have to understand what the source of the conflict would be, which would almost certainly be the Taiwan issue. From the Chinese perspective, and from indeed from the perspective of many in Asia, the Taiwan question is a continuation of an unfinished civil war. In 1949, the Chinese Communist Party was victorious on the mainland but [former Chinese president] Chiang Kai-shek and the Kuomintang retreated to Taiwan.

After the Korean War broke out, the United States intervened to prevent the Chinese civil war from continuing. So it’s been in suspense, but it’s never ended. Meanwhile, Taiwan is of course, evolved and become an admirably democratic society. But it is still the heir to the contending parties in the Civil War. So from the Chinese point of view, this is a war about who runs China. And what Chinese territory is, and Chinese feel very strongly about that. The balance of fervor, in other words, favors China.

Americans, some Americans may care about Taiwan, and I care about it. But I certainly don’t make it the centerpiece of my national policy in the same way that the Chinese do. The Chinese didn’t really do much, by way of preparation for an actual conquest of Taiwan until fairly recently. We have some understandings with the Chinese, which we worked out on the Nixon trip in 1972 and subsequently with normalization, under Jimmy Carter and [former Chinese Deputy Premier] Deng Xiaoping in 1979.

And progressively the United States has begun to violate these. We agreed to cap the quantity and quality of arms sales gradually, to reduce them, to Taiwan; we’ve completely blown that restriction away. We agreed, no official relationship with Taiwan; we’ve just spent $250 million to build something that looks an awful lot like an embassy in Taipei. We agreed there would be no official relations; were just sent to Cabinet Secretaries, or people with cabinet rank rather, to Taipei. We agreed that all military installations and facilities and troops would be withdrawn; and we’re clandestinely reinserting forces into Taiwan.

So in response to this, the Chinese have built a formidable capacity to take Taiwan, and my understanding — although I’m no longer privy to classified information — is that every war game, every scenario that we’ve played, with the war over Taiwan has had the United States losing. And you have to ask yourself, what does it mean to win? If you win Taiwan? Is it smoking ruin, its democracy destroyed? Perhaps it’s still separate from the People’s Republic of China. But China’s not going away, it will rebuild and come back.

You know, this happened once before in history, people don’t seem to know that. In the 17th century when the Ming Dynasty fell, and the Manchu or Ching Dynasty came in, Taiwan was for about 40 years under a pretender Ming government. There were 11 invasion attempts by the Manchus or the Ching against Taiwan. The first 10 failed, cost about a half million troops. The last, the 11th, succeeded. China is not going to give up on this. So there’s a real question in my mind, about why we’re pushing for military deterrence rather than political dialogue in the Taiwan Strait.

It was not always so

From Yahoo

Those who study disinformation and the media, believe the United States is facing a crisis, and one that this month was seen to have deadly consequences. They talk of the need to “deradicalise” individuals trapped in information bubbles, as one might seek to deradicalise an extremist.

Thomas Patterson, Professor of Government and the Press at Harvard University, said during the 1960s, 1970s and much of the 1980s, Americans listened to one of three national television networks – ABC, NBC or CBS. The only noticeable difference between them to the average viewer was the presenter, or anchor, in whom the networks invested large efforts to try and secure viewer loyalty.

(The anchors were invariably white and male. Max Robinson became the first black prime time anchor in 1978 when he co-hosted ABC’s ‘World News Tonight’. Barbara Walters became the first female anchor at the same network in 1976.)

“Studies have shown there wasn’t a dimes worth of difference in their content,” says Patterson, author of Informing the News: The Need for Knowledge-Based Journalism.

“There were not any ‘competing narratives’. The stories were very similar, the framing very similar. They relied heavily on the news wires, and the New York Times, when deciding what the story of the day was.”

He adds: “Nearly everyone was feeding at the same trough. Now, what they did with the news, how selective they were, and what they read into the news, or what they brought to the news, that varied from person to person. But at least there was a common starting point. And of course, we don’t have that anymore.”

Patterson points to several key developments in the breaking of the “same trough”, things that at the time were considered by some as a means to usher in a more democratic, accessible media.

The first was the birth and growth of 24-hour news channels, starting in 1980 with CNN. Yet Patterson says more disruptive than cable news – founder Ted Turner’s instructions at CNN were for its staff to emulate the networks – was the scrapping in 1987 of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC’s) “fairness doctrine”, which since 1949 had required broadcasters to dedicate equal time to both sides of an issue, or to each party.

Aaron Mostofsky after appearing from a court hearing in BrooklynAFP via Getty Images

The scrapping of that, in the second term of Ronald Reagan, who assessed, says Patterson, that while most journalists may be Democrat, station owners were likely Republican, allowed the massive growth in conservative talk radio. Radio broadcasters such as Rush Limbaugh very quickly established huge audiences, and this medium become hugely influential and hugely profitable.

He says the internet allowed the establishment of more and more channels or websites, which like Fox News, established in 1996 and rapidly becoming an industry leader, felt able to play fast and loose with facts. On the left, MSNBC, with stars such as Rachel Maddow, is similarly unconstrained by a need to give equal time to both parties.



A post from Paul about  Youtube video called Heresies

Lots of talk about liberty and inheriting it and the responsibility to protect it but … not a mention of the social contract.

A rewriting of the enlightenment to adopt American libertarianism as the core principle.

They praised the Magna Carta as a document of individual freedom and so misrepresent it and rewrite history. See later.

Magna Carta

What is the Magna Carta in simple terms?

Magna Carta, which means ‘The Great Charter’, is one of the most important documents in history as it established the principle that everyone is subject to the law, even the king, and guarantees the rights of individuals, the right to justice and the right to a fair trial.

From Wikipedia

At the end of the 16th century there was an upsurge in interest in Magna Carta. Lawyers and historians at the time believed that there was an ancient English constitution, going back to the days of the Anglo-Saxons, that protected individual English freedoms. They argued that the Norman invasion of 1066 had overthrown these rights, and that Magna Carta had been a popular attempt to restore them, making the charter an essential foundation for the contemporary powers of Parliament and legal principles such as habeas corpus. Although this historical account was badly flawed, jurists such as Sir Edward Coke used Magna Carta extensively in the early 17th century, arguing against the divine right of kings propounded by the Stuart monarchs. Both James I and his son Charles I attempted to suppress the discussion of Magna Carta, until the issue was curtailed by the English Civil War of the 1640s and the execution of Charles. The political myth of Magna Carta and its protection of ancient personal liberties persisted after the Glorious Revolution of 1688 until well into the 19th century. It influenced the early American colonists in the Thirteen Colonies and the formation of the United States Constitution, which became the supreme law of the land in the new republic of the United States.[c] Research by Victorian historians showed that the original 1215 charter had concerned the medieval relationship between the monarch and the barons, rather than the rights of ordinary people, but the charter remained a powerful, iconic document, even after almost all of its content was repealed from the statute books in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Magna Carta still forms an important symbol of liberty today, often cited by politicians and campaigners, and is held in great respect by the British and American legal communities, Lord Denning describing it as “the greatest constitutional document of all times – the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot”.

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